Boston College Eagles vs. Duke Blue Devils: Three Stars
Boston College opened their 2020 with a big win in Durham that answered a lot of questions that surrounded the team going into this season. It was huge for the program to return north with a win that begins Jeff Hafley's head coaching tenure. It was a new beginning for the group, as the team unveiled a new offense, and a much more aggressive ball hawking defense.
3rd Star - Phil Jurkovec
The newly minted starting BC quarterback came just as advertised, at least in the second half. Composed with a strong arm and the ability to use his feet as a dual threat, Jurkovec effectively moved the ball. After an offseason of uncertainty that included the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown, a lingering waiver claim that resulted in a #freejurk movement to catch the NCAA's attention, the quarterback responded to the tune of 300 yards passing and 2 touchdowns on the afternoon. In his first collegiate start, Jurkovec was the first BC quarterback to pass for 300 yards in a game since 2018 when Anthony Brown completed the feat with 304 yards against Wake Forest. Jurkovec was highly efficient as well, connecting on 17/23 throws at a 73.9% clip and a QBR of 126.6
“I haven’t been out there playing real football in so long,” Jurkovec said. “Getting out there, taking hits and playing again was so much fun.”
2nd Star - Zay Flowers
The recipient of more than half of Jurkovec's passing yards came by way of Zay Flowers, a sophomore wide receiver. The speedster sought to build on a promising freshman campaign and began to the tune of 5 catches for 162 yards and one touchdown.
Former Eagles standout Will Blackmon was impressed by Flower's separation ability when he burned the Duke secondary on his 62 yard touchdown catch.
For an offense that sought to become more balanced, Flowers game on Saturday afternoon showed that he could be a weapon that could take this passing offense to the next level.
1st Star - Defense
This unit had their documented struggles last season. For a group that had many returning contributors and veteran leadership, they sought to turn the page under Hafley. They did so in a major way to the tune of five turnovers in the game. Linebacker Isaiah McDuffie, who came back from a knee injury, looked strong, with an interception and some key stops. Safety Jahmin Muse was a nice surprise coming out of summer camp who seemingly impressed the staff and rewarded them with an interception of his own. The defense was aggressive attacking the football as well, forcing three fumbles (Marcus Valdez, Josh DeBerry, Deon Jones).
This defensive unit looked energized in their first game with this coaching staff. Specifically the secondary, self-dubbed "The Jungle" led by defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, this group was particularly strong on Saturday . This unit was more confident and attacking receivers more, making for a tough day for Duke quarterback Chase Brice and the Duke offense.
The defense will look to continue their trend upward next week with a bout again Texas State at Alumni Stadium.
Honorable Mention - Hunter Long
The junior tight end continued to build upon last season's success with 7 catches for 93 yards and a touchdown against Duke. Long seeks to develop into a consistent pass catcher for the Eagles and all signs are positive on his initial rapport with Jurkovec.
“He’s a complete tight end, and he has a chance to be one of the better ones in college football,” Hafley said.